Skip to main content

Richard Easterlin

University Professor and Professor of Economics

Contact Information
Phone: (213) 740-6993
Office: KAP 318B

Personal Website


Ph.D. , University of Pennsylvania, 1/1953
M.A. , University of Pennsylvania, 1949
M.S. , Stevens Institute of Technology, 1948

Description of Research

Summary Statement of Research Interests

Professor Easterlin studies changes in subjective well-being over the life cycle, applying the demographers’ technique of cohort analysis to social survey data. The aim is to clarify the role in determining well-being of circumstances such as living levels, family life, health, job conditions, and personality, and the reasons for the paradoxical relation between income and subjective well-being. At a point in time, there is a positive association between subjective well-being and size of income, but over time there is no improvement in subjective well-being as income increases.

Affiliations with Research Centers, Labs, and Other Institutions

USC Pop Lab,



Easterlin, R. A. (2004). The Reluctant Economist: Perspectives on Economics, Economic History, and Demography. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Book Chapter

Easterlin, R. A. (2006). Building a Better Theory of Well-being. (Vol. 29-64). Oxford University Press.
Easterlin, R. A. (2004). Life Satisfaction: Can We Produce It?. pp. p. 347-357. Norwell, MA: Challenges for Quality of Life in the Contemporary World/Kluwer Academic Press.
Easterlin, R. A. (2004). The Story of a Reluctant Economist. (Vol. NA). Cheltenham: Reflections of Eminent Economists/Edward Elgar.

Journal Article

Easterlin, R. A. (2011). The Impact of Modern Economic Growth on Urban-Rural Differences in Subjective Well Being. World Development.
Easterlin, R. A. (2010). The happiness–income paradox revisited. PNAS.
Easterlin, R. A. (2007). Modern Economic Growth and Quality of Life: Cross-Sectional and Time Series Evidence. Handbook of Social Indicators and Quality of Life Research.
Easterlin, R. A., Sirgy, M., Michalos, A. C., Ferriss, A. C., Patrick, D., Pavot, W. (2006). The Quality-of-Life (QOL) Research Movement: Past, Present, and Future. Social Indicators Research/Springer. pp. p.343-466.
Easterlin, R. A. (2006). Life Cycle Happiness and Its Sources: Intersection of Psychology, Economics and Demography. Journal of Economic Psychology/Elsevier. pp. p.463-482.
Zimmermann, A. C., Easterlin, R. A. (2006). Happily Ever After? Marriage, Divorce, and Happiness in Germany. Population and Development Review/Blackwell. pp. p.511-528.
Easterlin, R. A. (2005). Feeding the Illusion of Growth and Happiness: A Reply to Hagerty and Veenhoven. Social Indicators Research/Springer. pp. p. 429 - 443.
Easterlin, R. A. (2005). Diminishing Marginal Utility of Income? Caveat Emptor. Social Indicators Research/Springer. pp. p. 243-255.
Easterlin, R. A. (2005). A Puzzle for Adaptive Theory. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization/Elsevier. pp. p. 513-521.
Easterlin, R. A. (2004). The Economics of Happiness. Daedalus/MIT Press. pp. p. 26 - 33.

Honors and Awards

Distinguished Fellow, American Economic Association, 2006-  
National Academy Member, National Academy of Sciences, 2002-  
USC University Professor, 1999-  
American Academy of Arts and Sciences Fellow, Fellow, 1978-  
President of Western Economic Association International, 2010-2011   
President Elect of Western Economic Association International, 2009-2010   
Guggenheim Fellowship Recipient, 1988-1989  
USC Raubenheimer Outstanding Senior Faculty Award, 1988  
President, Economic History Association, 1979-1980  
President, Population Association of America, 1978  

Service to the University


Director or Undergraduate Studies, 2010-2011   
Advisor to Provost, Fall 2010   

Service to the Profession

Editorships and Editorial Boards

Associate Editor, Journal of Happiness Studies, 2006-  
Associate Editor, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 2004-2008  
Faculty may update their profile by visiting